January ended with a very unique and unexpected astronomy discovery. Actually, it took place in September, though it was announced in the end of the last month. In the nearby of globular cluster- NGC 6752 a galaxy was found by astronomers using Hubble Space Telescope. This discovery is not special just because of location of the galaxy, but only because of its parameters.
Bedin 1, that is how the new object was called, is a dwarf and spheroidal, located approximately 28.38 million light years from us. It is one of the oldest known galaxies, formed 10 to 13 billion years ago, when current measurement of the age of the universe is 14 billion years. There are only 36 galaxies of this type known, 22 of them are satellites of the Milky Way, when Bedin 1 is on of the most isolated galaxy known, located almost 2 million light years from the nearest large galaxy. It measures about 3000 light years, which is just a fraction of Milky Way’s size and it is also way less luminous. Bedin 1 is populated mostly with red-giant stars.
For those, who was thinking about Bedin’s name, it is named after discovery team leader, Luigi Bedin from the National Observatory for Astrophysics in Padua, Italy. His discovery was accidental. “We used Hubble to study white dwarf stars within the globular cluster NGC 6752,” Bedin explained. “After a careful analysis of their brightnesses and temperatures, we concluded that these stars did not belong to the cluster — which is part of the Milky Way — but rather they are millions of light-years more distant.”
The discovery of Bedin 1 was a kind of surprise in scientific world. Unexpected place, rare type of galaxy and its age are one of the most discussed topics. Finding Bedin 1 also shows that there are still undiscovered objects, even in our cosmic neighborhood, so let’s hope 2019 will bring us many discoveries. Meanwhile, Bedin 1 was already called “a fossil from the early Universe”, the next paper about it is scheduled in the end of 2019.